I am incredibly lucky to have always been surrounded by the most intelligent and beautiful (in every sense of the word) female role models, in particular my mum and nan. To the women who have known and loved me unconditionally through all my awkward years and helped to shape the person I am today, Happy Mother’s Day! I’d also like to thank the men out there who play the role of both Mum and Dad, I hope you are equally as spoiled on this day.
It seems appropriate on a day like today that I publish this post. During my 24 years of life, I have formed an endless list of things my mum and nan have taught me but here are five of my faves.
1. always be a lady… except when the football is on.
Like mother, like daughter… my mum and nan are polite, always polished and proud homemakers. Actually, I’m pretty certain that when Tom Jones wrote the song She’s a Lady, he had women like them in mind.
Throw a Parramatta Eels game on the television however and be prepared to unleash a whole new and extremely loud side of the ladies I look up to! My dad tells a story from 1983 of when he took his new mother-in-law and wife to a Manly vs. Parramatta grand final. They were so animated that he vowed never to take them to a game again.
Always doing my best to remain as ladylike as possible, I love that my mum and nan still let me climb trees, play in mud, scrape my knees and kick footballs. Also, kudos to Mum who didn’t freak out when Dad forgot to brush my hair for pre-school photo day and dressed me in a tartan dress and floral skivvy during a time when clashing patterns weren’t on trend. I’d also managed to hit myself in the nose with a plastic microphone a few days prior and looked pretty scruffy. Thanks Mum and Nan for encouraging me to drink beer and yell at the TV during the footy and for letting me know that it’s ok to take a break from ‘lady-dom’ every once in a while!
2. true beauty comes from within.
A lesson most are familiar with, my nan is the poster girl for this little nugget of wisdom. A babin’, flame haired Jantzen Swimwear model, even making an appearance on the cover of a western novel, I look at pictures of my nan from her early years and my jaw still drops at how stunning she was. As for my own mother, she doesn’t even realise how gorgeous she is.
Regardless of how they present themselves on the outside it is the love they show their friends and family that truly makes them beautiful. They taught me from a very young age that it didn’t matter how cute my outfit was or how much I spent on making my hair look good, I would meet the friends that mattered by showing compassion and kindness. As simple as that.
3. fun is to be had by young and old.
I have always been a worrier and more often than not I play it safe. Then I think of my mum and nan and without trying to sound too clichéd, realise that life is too short. They have both had an emotional couple of years, mainly health wise and while I worry, they stay strong and plan. They plan exciting adventures and make the most of their days which are after all there for the seizing. Most recently, while away on Hamilton Island for my sister’s wedding, my 77-year-old nan went parasailing. Her only complaint? That the boat didn’t go fast enough! And who was next to her through it all, her daughter, my mum. Partners in crime. She was so elated when she told me the story and took her photos back to show her doctor, as proof she could do it. My mum has always had an adventurous spirit, she takes on the scariest rollercoasters and rides and has endless energy.
When I think of my nan, I will always remember her in her cutest tennis outfit ready for a weekend’s tournament or showing off photos from a trip to Italy to visit her sister Elly or ably packing up three restless Sutherland children into her car and taking us to the beach for seaside fun. While Mum mightn’t have had the means or opportunity to travel… yet… her ability to buy in to the imagination of her children saw me go on adventures beyond my wildest dreams.
4. there’s no place like home.
Okay so maybe it was Mum, Nan and Dorothy Gale who taught me this one but it is true. There is no better place than home. There are a few places I call home – Sydney, the beach, Nan and Pa’s and even though we’ve moved around a fair bit, my mum is the best at making each new place feel like home immediately. So currently, home is in Brisbane.
Life comes with its fair share of ups and downs. Recently, I was in a position where I moved back in with Mum and Dad after a few years of living out of home. I wanted to help Mum more while Nan was unwell and was also in a situation where I needed the support of my family. It was during this time that I realised my parents would always be there for me and that the familiarity of being at home, a place that had been my safe-haven throughout my teens, was just what I needed.
5. family is everything.
I have grown up in a family that fights like crazy. We also love insanely and have learnt over time to be forgiving. If you ask my dad (which I have) and I’m sure if I asked my pa, they would tell you it’s because of the women of the house that our family is as close as it is.
Family, like home, means a few different things to me. It is made up of my friends – the family I choose, my close relatives – aunts, uncles, cousins etc. and the Suthos – my immediate family (Denzel and Brookvale our two dogs included). My mum gave me my sister and brother and she always reminded us, no matter what arguments and scuffles we got in to, that we would grow up to be best friends. And we did.
Through any tough times and hard decisions I’ve faced, Mum and Nan have stood by my side offering me the wisdom of their experiences. They promised me ‘it would be ok’ and most importantly, gave me their unconditional support. My family means everything to me and I hope one day I can be half the mother, wife and woman my mum and nan have been.